Documenting Surveillance Projects: Bluebeam Revu

By: IPVM Team, Published on Aug 02, 2013

In the construction industry, the PDF file is king. Everything from RFPs to close-out documents are generated in PDF so they can be easily and quickly distributed electronically. However, being able to effectively markup, estimate from, and manage all of these construction PDF files can be limited and cumbersome with most PDF editors or readers. Sharing PDF documents with applications such as Dropbox, Skydrive and Google Drive is effective but leaves a lot to be desired when collaborating on a project with others when it comes to tracking and managing changes or revisions.

In this note, we examine one option from Bluebeam, called Revu, that is being used to solve some of these problems.

What is Bluebeam Revu?

Bluebeam's Revu 11 is a software application geared toward the construction and A&E [link no longer available] environments that overcomes the above obstacles to create, adapt, collaborate and manage digital workflows via PDF to streamline the construction document process. Many larger construction companies and A&E firms are effectively using Bluebeam Revu's features to improve their workflow, save time and money and increase productivity. Among the features Bluebeam Revu offers:

  • Simpler generation of PDF files with one-button creationbatch processing and the ability to create 3D files.
  • A powerful PDF editor that allows users to easily edit, markup [link no longer available], track markups and add their own symbol libraries (called Tool Chests), and custom stamps. Drawings can be scaled and measurements determined on-screen.
  • A File Access feature to easily find and access recent PDF files and a sets feature that combines documents into a single tabbed document which can be easily searched, sorted, filtered and organized.  
  • The Bluebeam Studio feature allows users to collaborate in the cloud in real time, with the ability to track, sort and filter annotations, notes and revisions. Non-users can download the free Bluebeam Vu viewer that can allow them to participate in Studio collaboration sessions.  
  • A free online Bluebeam University with an extensive collection of tutorials and videos.

Video Surveillance Applications

In the video surveillance market, contractors and integrators will find Bluebeam Revu useful for:

  • Site Surveys and Field Reports (using a tablet PC or iPad)
  • Take-offs & Estimating - Being able to scale, annotate and mark-up bid drawings, perform take-offs and generate spreadsheets with equipment counts for more accurate estimates.
  • RFI Generation - Create and track RFI's easily and associate them with pages of the drawings or specifications.
  • Easily prepare proposal and simple shop drawings or service projects, reducing the reliance on and workload of CAD technicians.
  • Easily create PDF drawings, submittals, and close-out documents in manageable sets.
  • Collaborate between different people and departments more quickly and effectively.
  • Creating real-time "red-lines" or "as-built" drawings.

In addition, A&E's should find Bluebeam useful for:

  • Shop drawing and submittal reviews
  • Document Comparison
  • Easily create, redline and markup 2-D and 3-D CAD drawings (Revu CAD Version required)
  • Simplified collaboration with other firms, contractors, and owner's reps.
  • Integration with Bentley ProjectWise [link no longer available] and Microsoft SharePoint

Bluebeam in Action

In this first video, we demonstrate laying out a very simple small surveillance system.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

In this next video, we show how to create a Studio collaboration session.


In this final video we show how to review and track changes in a Studio collaboration.

Pricing & Comparison with Adobe Acrobat

Bluebeam offers Revu in three versions:

  • Revu Standard for $179
  • Revu CAD (which has all the Standard version features and interfaces with most major CAD platforms) for $229
  • Revu Extreme (which has all of the CAD version features and includes features such as OCR and redaction) for $299.

Significant discounts are offered for volume licensing. Optional annual software maintenance agreements that include premium support, and minor/major version upgrades are priced at $49, $59 and $69 per version respectively. An iPad version of Revu is available for $9.99 at the Apple iTunes store30-Day free trial versions of Revu are available for evaluation purposes.

By comparison, Adobe's Acrobat XI Standard is $139, and the Pro version is $199. While Adobe invented the PDF format in the early 90's and Acrobat is the leading PDF generation and editing software program, it lacks the construction-specific features that Bluebeam includes. For only $40 more in price, much construction-related functionality is gained.


  • Revu Standard, CAD and Extreme versions are only available for Windows operating systems (XP SP3, XP Tablet, Vista 7 & 8). No Mac version is available.
  • There is no version available for Android tablets.
  • Windows tablet users need to purchase the $179 standard version but the slightly more limited iPad version is only $9.99

Comparing and Complementing AutoCAD

AutoCAD is the biggest name in design software both in construction and surveillance (see our tutorial), begging the question how Bluebeam Revu compares and/or complements AutoCAD. Unless you are a small integrator or doing simple projects, it will not replace AutoCAD. However, it is very useful for non-CAD users such as salespersons, estimators, service managers, technicians and field installers to easily create simple layouts and markup PDF drawings generated by AutoCAD. This can improve the workflow process and reduce the dependency on CAD operators, as well as expensive software and workstations. AutoCAD will still be the preferred drafting programs large projects, Bluebeam compliments AutoCAD in this case, and allows everyone to participate in the process from sales to installation.

2 reports cite this report:

Network Cabling for Video Surveillance on Jan 15, 2020
In this guide, we explain the fundamentals of network cabling for video surveillance networks, how they should be installed, and the differences in...
Bluebeam Revu Security Floorplan Estimation App Test on Jun 15, 2017
Bluebeam Revu is a construction design markup tool that claims it is "used by 94% of top US contractors", but what role does it have for physical...
Comments (10) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Free Online NFPA, IBC, and ADA Codes and Standards on Jun 27, 2018
Finding applicable codes for security work can be a costly task, with printed books and pdf downloads costing hundreds or thousands. However, a...
VMS Update Automation Compared on Mar 20, 2017
Updating VMS software can be a tedious and time consuming processing, which historically has required users to access each machine, download update...
Project Documentation Forms & Work Order Tutorial on Jan 07, 2019
This form may be one of the most important tools integrators ever have doing install and service work. Inside we provide a sample template form,...
VMS Server Sizing on May 25, 2018
Specifying the right sized PC/server for VMS software is one of the most important yet difficult decisions in IP video surveillance. In the past...
Top Problems For Integrator Project Management on Feb 13, 2018
Security projects routinely encounter issues that jeopardize deadlines, create confusion, and shrink profits. Unfortunately, there are common...
Intel Meltdown / Spectre Patch Tested on Avigilon, Exacq and Milestone VMSes on Jan 23, 2018
Significant concern exists about the impact on VMS servers and video surveillance systems of patching the Meltdown and Spectre flaws. Generally,...
Startup SafePass Profile on Oct 19, 2018
A major problem with visitor management is that the systems mostly require adhesive printed paper labels and paper logs, creating waste and an...
IP Camera Installation Tool Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Ideal, Hanwha, Triplett, Veracity on Oct 23, 2018
Setting up IP cameras has historically been challenging, with techs often precariously using a laptop on a ladder or lift. Some options for install...
Milestone XProtect 2019 R3 'Centralized Search' Tested on Oct 30, 2019
Milestone has had problems over the last few years releasing significant new software. Now, in XProtect 2019 R3, Milestone is touting "one search...
Video Analytics Integration Guide on Aug 16, 2018
Video analytics is hot again (at least conceptually) but integrating video analytics with VMSes can be challenging. This is especially significant...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Startup Duranc Presents AI VSaaS on Jul 06, 2020
Duranc presented its system at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. A 30-minute video from Duranc including IPVM Q&A Background on the...
Low Voltage Nation Wants to "Help You Carve Out A Fulfilling Career" Interviewed on Jul 06, 2020
It is difficult to make your way in this industry as there is little formal schooling. However, one person, Blake Urmos, the Founder of Low Voltage...
The Next Hot Fever Detection Trend - $100 Wall-Mounted Units on Jul 06, 2020
The first wave of the booming fever detecting market was $10,000+ cameras, now interest for ~$2,000 tablets is high and the next big thing may be...
Cisco Meraki Unlocks IP Cameras With RTSP Tested on Jul 06, 2020
Meraki opened up its cameras to 3rd party NVRs/VMSes by offering RTSP streaming because of "the need to solve a business problem". We tested...
Verkada: "IPVM Should Never Be Your Source of News" on Jul 02, 2020
Verkada was unhappy with IPVM's recent coverage declaring that reading IPVM is 'not a good look' and that 'IPVM should never be your source of...
Vintra Presents FulcrumAI Face Recognition on Jul 02, 2020
Vintra presented its FulcrumAI face recognition and mask detection offering at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. Inside this report: A...
Uniview Wrist Temperature Reader Tested on Jul 02, 2020
Uniview is promoting measuring wrist temperatures whereas most others are just offering forehead or inner canthus measurements. But how well does...
Dahua USA Admits Thermal Solutions "Qualify As Medical Devices" on Jul 02, 2020
Dahua USA has issued a press release admitting a controversial point in the industry but an obvious one to the US FDA, that the thermal temperature...
Access Control Online Show - July 2020 - With 40+ Manufacturers - Register Now on Jul 01, 2020
IPVM is excited to announce our July 2020 Access Control Show. With 40+ companies presenting across 4 days, this is a unique opportunity to hear...